Same-Day Registration, Fraud
Albuquerque Journal guest op-ed
Read this at: http://www.abqjournal.com/opinion/guest_columns/082218516320opinionguestcolumns02-08-10.htm
By Nina Martinez
1st Vice-Chairman, New Mexico Republican Party
The integrity of the ballot depends on the ability to verify the eligibility of individuals to vote before any ballots are cast. Given New Mexico’s history and lax laws, the first course of action should be ensuring the accuracy of existing voter rolls before adopting same-day registration and voting.
The accuracy of voter rolls in New Mexico is in question.
In 2006, the secretary of state mailed voter cards to just over one million registered voters. Over 200,000 came back as “undeliverable” — nearly one in five. Who are these alleged voters? Are they deceased individuals who are still on the rolls, felons, non-citizens or people who have moved from their registered address many years ago?
Four years later we still don’t know.
The citizens of New Mexico have still not been provided the answers to these questions. No investigations were demanded. Instead, state Democrat leaders changed the law so that voter cards were no longer required to be mailed to voters, thereby preventing another public embarrassment that would highlight the inaccuracy of the voter rolls.
New Mexico is one of a few swing states targeted by political parties in national elections. A single vote in New Mexico not only affects state and local races, but also national ones. Just 366 votes separated Al Gore from George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election when the counting stopped. The closest race in the nation in 2000 was New Mexico, not Florida.
Since then, New Mexico has seen tens of thousands of out-of-state volunteers descend upon New Mexicans in “voter drives.” Same-day voter registration would increase the number of questionable outside groups like ACORN, not decrease them as proponents of same-day registration insist.
Because of New Mexico’s lax laws, our state is already a magnet for fraud of all kinds.
A truckload of Guatemalans from Kansas were arrested at the Tijeras Motor Vehicle office attempting to obtain fraudulent driver’s licenses. If non-citizens are descending upon New Mexico to obtain fraudulent licenses, are they also registering to vote?
A Brazilian man and a Khazikstanian woman were arrested for a scheme to transport at least 30 foreign nationals to New Mexico from countries deemed a security risk to the United States. Federal agents said this occurred because “New Mexico is one of a handful of states in which driver’s licenses are easily obtainable by illegal aliens using false documents.” Are these individuals voting, too? The Republican Party can’t get this public information from the Richardson-Denish Administration.
The Richardson-Denish Administration estimated that over 45,000 non-citizens currently have state-issued driver’s licenses that look no different from a citizen’s license. There is no way to distinguish if the person presenting the license is a U.S. citizen.
Under freedom of information laws, the Republican Party of New Mexico requested the names of non-citizens issued driver’s licenses in order to compare them to the voter rolls. The Richardson-Denish Administration refused to let the sunshine in and kept the names secret.
In the event of another close election, will New Mexicans feel confident of the vote?
A random sample of 92 newly registered voters in the Democrat primary in House District 13 in 2008 showed that 28 were “highly suspicious” — almost one in three.
This district was targeted by liberal out-of-state interests in order to defeat a moderate Democrat incumbent and replace him with a much more liberal state representative. These groups succeeded and influenced our electoral process. As a result, on Oct. 17, 2008, law enforcement referral letters were sent to Attorney General Gary King, Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg and others asking them to investigate these highly suspicious voter registrations and votes.
To date, these officials have not stepped up to determine the extent of the registration and voter fraud.
Same-day registration is an excuse to further create opportunities for mischief. Same-day registration is an excuse for same-day fraud.
Nina Martinez holds a master’s degree in public administration and a juris doctorate from Rutgers Law School.